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UZH Innovation Hub

Solutions for Sustainable Society

► Call for applications 2024 has been completed

The UZH Entrepreneur Fellowships, Sustainable society support early career researchers who intend to start up a company in the profit and non-profit sectors which is based on UZH research and will contribute to the sustainable development of society.

The UZH Entrepreneur Fellowships provide funding and resources to translate UZH research with commercial potential by demonstrating proof-of-concept and establishing market viability.

The goal of this Entrepreneur Fellowship track is to accelerate solutions that can contribute to a sustainable development. Entrepreneurship is a recognized contributor to a sustainable development1 next to science, policy and adaptations by the individual. New companies can actively impact the development driving inclusive economic growth and innovation, improving social conditions and addressing economic, social and environmental challenges.

Early career researchers supported by an Entrepreneur Fellowship will gain the skills, knowhow and network needed to become confident entrepreneur in the sustainability and impact space.

1) The UN General Assembly, in its resolution 75/211 on entrepreneurship for sustainable development, adopted in December 2020, recognized the important contribution that entrepreneurship makes to sustainable development by creating jobs, driving inclusive economic growth and innovation, improving social conditions and addressing economic, social and environmental challenges in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Entrepreneurial intentions supported

These Entrepreneur Fellowships support entrepreneurial projects with the potential to make a real impact for our economy, society and/or environment. Proposed solutions should be based on findings of UZH research.

Proposals may address a wide range of problems related to mitigating and adapting to climate change as well as creating a sustainable and equitable society overall. Proposals may originate from research domains such as: political science, communication science, sociology, plant science, geography, chemistry, veterinary science and more. Proposals originating in interdisciplinary knowhow are explicitly encouraged. Both technical and social innovations are supported.

While these Entrepreneur Fellowships support the development of startups that set impact first, applications should include a potential business model that can guarantee economic viability of the startup.


The UZH Entrepreneur Fellowship, Sustainable Society amounts to CHF 100’000 and is given for a period of 12 months. The funding may be used to pay salaries, materials and other project-related expenses.

Mentoring & Coaching

Every Entrepreneur Fellow is supported by a scientific mentor and a dedicated business coach throughout the Entrepreneur Fellowship.

The mentor is a professor or senior researcher at UZH suggested by the applicant. We recommend choosing a mentor with previous experience in research translation, entrepreneurship and/or partnerships with industry.

At the beginning of the project, the Entrepreneur Fellow will choose a coach from our network of experienced entrepreneurs.

Our coaches

Support program

The Entrepreneur Fellowships provide not only funding but also a full support program to aid researchers on their entrepreneurial endeavor. This includes workshops targeted towards preparing impact entrepreneurs, pitching opportunities and access to the UZH Innovators community.

Co-working space

Supported projects will gain special access to the Zurich Knowledge Center for Sustainable Development, ZKSD, that includes the possibility to host workshops in the space, access to desk space and special invitation to relevant events.  

Learn more about ZKSD:


Selected candidates will be invited for an interview with the expert jury.

Jury members


Axel Michaelowa

Head of the International Climate Policy group



Cyril Zipfel

Professor for Molecular and Cellular Plant Physiology, UZH



Gabriela Schaepman-Strub

Associate Professor of Earth System Sciences



Jeannette Behringer

Responsible Sustainability in Research and Teaching, UZH


Nadine Strauss

Assistant Professor Strategic Communication and Media Management



Leigh Pezzicara

VP Sustainability at La Prairie



Roman Gaus

Company Builder at Wattson Homes



Stéphanie Engels

Partner at Signium Switzerland



Applications for the Entrepreneur Fellowships, Sustainable Society can be submitted once a year until April 15th.

For the application you need to submit a description of your project, the project budget, a 3 min pitch video, your CV and a letter of intent from your mentor.Here you can find a blank application form (for reference only). (PDF, 128 KB)

Find more information on how to apply for the Entrepreneur Fellowships here.

Register on the grants platform and submit your applicationhere.

Learn more at the Innovator Mornings!

Curious to learn more about this program?

At the Innovator Mornings event you’ll have the chance to meet previous recipients of the UZH Entrepreneur Fellowships and Innovation Grants as well as entrepreneurship coaches. The event focuses on internal exchange within the UZH innovation community and includes presentations by supported researchers and startup founders.

Check out the agenda and register for the next event!

Weiterführende Informationen


Zurich Knowledge Center for Sustainable Development

More about Zurich Knowledge Center for Sustainable Development

A meeting point to promote the exchange of knowledge between specialist areas and institutions, between theory and practice and between different cultures.

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